Is CMS now allowing hospitals to provide acute care to patients within their own homes?
Yes. On November 25, 2020 CMS announced its Acute Hospital Care at Home program. The program allows hospitals to apply for a waiver that will allow them to provide acute hospital in-patient care to patients within their own homes. It is important to distinguish the Acute Hospital Care at Home program from traditional home health and skilled nursing services. Per CMS, “Acute Hospital Care at Home is for beneficiaries who require acute inpatient admission to a hospital and who require at least daily rounding by a physician and a medical team monitoring their care needs on an ongoing basis”.
It is also important to highlight that providers will need to apply for the Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver – the waiver is not automatically available to all providers. Per CMS, hospitals that apply for the Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver will need to prove they have the “capability of treating acute hospital care at home patients with the same level of care as traditional inpatients”. The CMS announcement does not detail how hospitals can demonstrate this capability – we expect additional program details will be provided to hospitals when they begin the waiver request process on the CMS application page linked below. CMS states it will also require providers who participate in the program to submit quality and safety data “on a frequency that is based on their prior experience with the Hospital At Home model” to ensure beneficiary safety.
We would advise interested hospitals contact their MAC for additional program details not included in the CMS announcement. We will also update this Q&A should CMS publish any additional Acute Hospital Care at Home program guidelines.
CMS Acute Hospital Care at Home program announcement:
CMS Acute Hospital Care at Home waiver request homepage: